Cowen Institute celebrates 10 years with three gifts totaling $2.5 million

The Cowen Institute at Tulane University has received three gifts totaling $2.5 million from individuals and foundations that will fund the naming of the institute’s executive directorship, endow a fund for educational entrepreneurs to test innovative concepts and support a youth success fund for direct programming.

“We are incredibly grateful for this support and the impact these generous gifts will have on young people in New Orleans,” said Amanda Kruger Hill, the executive director of the Cowen Institute. “As we celebrate the Cowen Institute's 10-year anniversary, we are energized by how far we’ve come as a city and look forward to continuing to advance public education and youth success.”

Sherry and Alan Leventhal pledged $1 million to name the Institute’s executive directorship.  Sherry Leventhal is a 1977 graduate of the Tulane School of Law and a member of the Board of Tulane, the Cowen Institute Board of Advisors, and the Law Dean’s Advisory Council. Alan Leventhal is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Beacon Capital Partners, a premier real estate company.

“We are incredibly grateful for this support and the impact these generous gifts will have on young people in New Orleans.”

- Amanda Kruger Hill, executive director of the Cowen Institute

“The Cowen Institute has been instrumental in rebuilding public education in New Orleans and ensuring that all young people have the opportunity for a rewarding future,” said Sherry Leventhal.  “The executive director brings exceptional vision and energy to ensure the overall success of the Cowen Institute, through engaging with stakeholders, providing strategic direction and growing the many initiatives of the organization.”

The Priddy Family Foundation is committed to enriching lives through charitable giving and has pledged $1 million to support the Robert L. and Kikie Priddy Endowed Fund for New Ideas. This fund will explore bold ideas, allowing the Cowen Institute to issue grants as seed funding to practitioners, school leaders and educational entrepreneurs.

Robert Priddy has served on the Cowen Institute Board of Advisors for over five years and is a senior advisor at Comvest Partners, a private investment firm he co-founded. Kikie Priddy is a New Orleans native who attended St. Mary’s Dominican College and Academy of the Sacred Heart.

“I have a deep interest in education reform and believe that everyone deserves an opportunity for an education,” said Robert Priddy, who received his bachelor of arts degree in economics from Tulane in 1969.

The third gift is from an anonymous donor in the sum of $500,000 for the Youth Success Fund, which will support the institute’s direct programming, including such initiatives as the College and Career Counseling Collaborative, Tulane undergraduates’ work in the community and other direct service work with youth.

“This investment in the Cowen Institute will help students achieve their dreams while strengthening our community,” said Scott Cowen, chairman of the Cowen Institute Board of Advisors and president emeritus of Tulane and distinguished university chair. “I am delighted that these investments will add to the long-term sustainability and impact of our work in New Orleans.”